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Artist creates life sized portrait for his exhibit at Bob Rauschenberg Gallery

September 16, 2015
By MEGHAN McCOY ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Cardboard pieces of different sizes and shapes were added to a 14-foot "Cubist Bob" Wednesday afternoon as artist Wayne White completed the sculpture for his opening reception special performance at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery.

"It will be an entertaining show," White said of his upcoming performance, "Bob Rauschenberg, Artist in the Studio," Friday, Sept. 11. "I want my art to communicate. I do like to entertain."

The life-sized puppet was created out of cardboard, he said because it's easy and fast to work with. White arrived in Southwest Florida Sunday and began working on the puppet Monday morning. The artist also transformed the gallery by adding his artistic touch to the wall, which will hang a variety of his watercolor and word art paintings.

Article Photos

Artist Wayne White glues pieces together for his “Cubist Bob,” a 14-foot puppet Wednesday afternoon at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery.


Although a design was not sketched before the cardboard boxes began taking shape resembling a portrait, White said he had an idea of space.

"All I know is make it big," he said. "You have to dominate the space always."

The Tennessee born artist was a puppet designer for 25 years. His work appeared in kid's shows, rock shows and "Pee-wee's Playhouse."

White said he was in the right place at the right time when he landed his first big break with "Pee-wee's Playhouse." He said he had the opportunity to work with people whose artwork he admired during that job.

"It was an art project that got on national TV," White said, adding that the show brought a "brand new energy."

The artist is excited that his artwork will be on exhibit at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery through November because he has been a fan of Rauschenberg for many years.

The fact that Rauschenberg was the first abstract artist that found objects and junk to incorporate into his art, sparked White's interest.

"The texture and look of the work spoke to me," he said.

White's first trip to New York City in 1977 introduced him to Rauschenberg's retrospect artwork.

"It was the first real modern art I saw in person," he said. "That made a huge impression on me. I have a long connection with him."

In 2013, White and his wife participated in a month long residency at the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation on Captiva. He said it was surely the best residency he has been a part of.

White had the opportunity to paint at Rauschenberg's studio, bike 25 acres and have his own chef.

"I got to use Bob's old art supplies," he said. "I used his acrylic paint in his old studio. It was a little artist heaven literally and beautifully."

While he spent time on Captiva, White created 40 paintings, some of which will be shown during his exhibit. The paintings, he said stemmed from the reaction to landscape and the island's beauty through watercolors.

The artists "Word Art" became a part of his collection because he has always been connected to words and writing. White said his paintings act as poems and the world's shortest story.

The exhibit, "Wayne White: Here Comes Mr. Know-it-All" will be featured at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery through Nov. 7, which is located on the Florida Southwestern State College campus, 8099 College Pkwy.

"It's one of the nicest places I have shown at in a long time," White said of the gallery. "It's a real honor to be in the proximity of that legacy."

Follow Meghan @IslanderMeghan on Twitter.



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